On Feb. 2 and 3, 2017, more than 300 workers from Gilt Distribution Center came together for an employee awards ceremony. The yearly celebration is one more way the company recognizes excellence.
The award categories include Employee of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, Manager of the Year, Above and Beyond, Top Performer, Support Team Champion and Safety Champion. Each winner for these categories received a certificate, professional photograph to be displayed on the company’s HR board, and recognition in the form of Kudos (a type of currency at Gilt that allows employees to choose from a variety of merchandise or gift cards).
Employees were also recognized for reaching milestones in the areas of Time of Service, Safe Equipment Operation and Perfect Attendance. In addition to acknowledgment in the form of a certificate, a variety of prizes were awarded based on category.
Each year, one person from each shift wins Employee of the Year. For 2016, the winners were Rebecca Collins from first shift, Abdullatief Alfatla from second shift, and Hasanain Alahamdani from the weekend shift. Each has distinguished themselves among their peers, almost without seeming to know it. If they all share one trait, it’s a quiet sense of pride at having been recognized.
Rebecca Collins – Warehouse Specialist, first shift
“I was kind of shocked,” says Rebecca Collins, “because I know there’s a lot of people who do a lot more work than I do. But when they said I fixed 33,000 orders last year, I’m going, ‘Huh? I guess I did. I don’t know.’ I do my job. It was nice. I really feel appreciated.”
Collins is a Warehouse Specialist and, in October, she’ll have been with the company for five years. She works with people across all departments correcting orders. The state-of-the-art warehouse handles tens of thousands of orders a day from the company’s shopping website, Gilt.com, and Collins is part of making sure those orders meet customers’ high expectations of the luxury brand. This year, she worked diligently to help her team fulfill and exceed customer requirements, while dedicating a considerable amount of time to training people from all shifts.
Prior to her employment at Gilt, Collins worked in printing. She was with the same company for 22 years, but found she could no longer get vacation or PTO time. After they eliminated their employee health insurance program, she said, “I can’t have this.”
Gilt has helped her turn things around. Last year, she was able to buy her first home — a three-bedroom ranch house where she lives with her 15-year-old son.
“It’s like a family. This is like my second family. You have problems, they can tell by your face, or if you’re happy, they joke around with you. It’s a very, very family-oriented place. They take care of their employees.”
Of the other Employees of the Year she says, “I’ve worked with both those guys … They are very good. You don’t hear ‘em gripe.” She praises their versatility, being able to do high-picks as forklift operators, and working across many departments, so they can fill in where necessary.
Abudullatief Alfatla – Heavy Equipment Operator, second shift
Abudullatief (Abdul) Alfatla came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee and found work at Gilt through a friend, Nassr Almarsoomi, a Supervisor at Gilt who won Supervisor of the Year for 2014. Alfatla is a Picker/Forklift Operator who lives with his wife of 23 years and three sons: a 10- and 16- year-old, and a 22-year-old who’s in college.
Alfatla has achieved a perfect attendance record for his third year at Gilt and has an exemplary safety and performance record as a heavy equipment operator.
Alfatla says he was surprised at the honor. He’s also quick to say that he likes to work fast. “When I work slow, I feel I want to sleep,” Alfatla says.
Almarsoomi appreciates his friend Alfatla’s enthusiasm for working efficiently: “He loves seeing all the orders coming in to the system so he can work more and more.”
Almarsoomi also points out that Alfatla now has many friends at Gilt. “He says he has fun, laughs with them, and everything is okay. Even the managers or supervisors, it’s the same,” says Almarsoomi.
Speaking to his friend’s work ethic and dedication, Almarsoomi says, “He just wants to send a message: Work hard, love the job, love the people. They will love you as well.”
Hasanain Alahamdani – Heavy Equipment Operator, weekend shift
Hasanain (Hasan) Alahamdani also came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee and learned about Gilt through Almarsoomi. He says Gilt is a fun place to work, but what stands out for him is his manager. “He’s a really great person. Management … at this company is really great to work with.”
The feeling is mutual. Alahamdani’s manager, Donnie Allen, nominated Alahamdani for the award this year, calling him “… the epitome of a selfless employee,” who was willing to work where he was needed most … with a smile and a positive attitude that make [him] an example for everyone on the team.”
Alahamdani has a wife and two children, ages 2 and 9, and has been part of the Gilt team for almost three years. “He’s proud of himself,” says Almarsoomi. “He’s come here all the way from overseas and shows the people that he’s a hard worker. He loves the peace. He wants to live and love.”
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